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Amid Talk of Media Reform, Election Roils Zimbabwe Union of Journalists

Some journalists accuse incumbent ZUJ President Matthew Takaona of trying to ensure the election of a handpicked slate of successors, but he says he is only trying to avoid interference by influence-seeking politicians

Battle lines have been drawn for ahead of an election to select a new slate of officers for Zimbabwe Union of Journalists with one faction engaging lawyers as a struggle for control of the union spills over into the media.

Independent and freelance journalists accuse outgoing ZUJ President Mathew Takaona and his fellow incumbents of planning secret elections without telling many members the venue of a Congress held every three years.

The ZUJ Congress was to open Thursday evening and continue through the weekend in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city.

Harare freelance journalist Conrad Mwanawasha, who is running for treasurer of the ZUJ, told VOA Studio 7 says he may seek relief in the courts if the outgoing executive improperly pushes a slate of handpicked officers.

But incumbent Takaona responded that the union is keeping the balloting place secret because some politicians have sponsored candidates in a bid to undermine the union's independence.